* Canadian dollar weakens 0.1 percent against the greenback * Price of U.S. oil rises 1.9 percent * Canadian bond prices trade mixed across the yield curve By Fergal Smith TORONTO, March 4 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened to its lowest in nearly three weeks against its U.S. counterpart on Monday, after weak domestic data on Friday pointed to Bank of Canada patience this week on further interest rate hikes. At 9:49 a.m. (1449 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.1 percent lower at 1.3302 to the greenback, or 75.18 U.S. cents. The currency touched its weakest level since Feb. 14 at 1.3324. Canada's economic growth slowed more than expected in the fourth quarter to a 0.4 percent annualized pace on plunging Canadian crude oil export prices, data on Friday showed, underpinning market expectations that the Bank of Canada will not hike interest rates on Wednesday. The data "will only serve to reinforce the Bank's cautious tone," Benjamin Reitzes, Canadian rates & macro strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a research note. The Bank of Canada may be closer to a policy turning point, as it is still set to hike its key interest rate once more later this year but there is now a small chance of a cut, according to economists polled by Reuters. The price of oil was buoyed by OPEC output cuts and reports that the United States and China were inching closer to a deal on a trade dispute that has slowed global economic growth. U.S. crude oil futures were up 1.9 percent at $56.87 a barrel. Canada exports many commodities, including oil, so its economy could benefit from an improved outlook for global trade. Speculators have cut their bearish bets on the Canadian dollar, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations showed on Friday. As of Feb. 19, net short positions had fallen to 36,437 contracts from 37,537 in the prior week. Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the yield curve, with the two-year up 0.5 Canadian cent to yield 1.763 percent and the 10-year falling 1 Canadian cent to yield 1.939 percent. Canada's trade data for December is due on Wednesday and the February employment report is due on Friday. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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